Does an admission at an early stage obviate the need for an investigation?Posted in : Seamus Says - Employment Law Discussion on 13 December 2017
Q. Does an admission at an early stage obviate the need for an investigation?
Seamus: I think just in terms of the investigation, obviously look at we have guidance and in the form of our labour relations there's guidance on investigations. And sometimes you will get an admission early on, and you can have a natural view of, "Well, we've got the admission, we don't need to look at any further into it."
A couple of concerns on our end up and from experience we have an investigatory stage, you're maybe not exactly 100% clear in terms of what your allegations are on what is the person actually admitting to or giving you admission on. And if there is going to be admission during an investigations stage, definitely then it should recorded in writing. Stranger things have happened and it doesn't you know, go beyond the part that round that somebody might come back and say, "Well, I didn't actually understand the allegation at the time. I didn't admit to that."
Scott: What are you working to something else? I thought you asked me if I did X not Y.
Seamus: Or alternatively, I felt pressured. I felt under duress and I did it but now I don't. I think the safer option is always to conduct your investigation. And remember that when you're coming to your disciplinary that you are providing the employee with all of the evidence that you have accumulated, that you tend to rely upon at that disciplinary.
And because if you get to the disciplinary and the employee says, "No, that they've got full details of the allegations and they're very well set out," and they say, "No, I don't agree with that." And if you've no evidence, no documentation, and you're simply relying upon admissions, it's going to be in difficulties. But there will be some circumstances I think where you could just get away with it.
Scott: And it should go to some of the things. So you might not necessarily suspend somebody. You remember when you're looking here. There may not be a dismissal offense. But if somebody pulls their hand up and said, "Yeah. I did that." And it falls within the warning, there's no need to suspend. You could deal with that disciplinary fairly quickly. And it's only really if they argue that they're going to have to deal with something else.
Seamus: Yes. That's it exactly.
More on Disciplinary & Grievance
- When it comes to determining the appropriate sanction for an incident of misconduct, can an employer take into account a previous first written warning?
- Mr J Hargreaves v Governing Body of Manchester Grammar School 
- In Brief: Important Updates from October 2018
- Top Tips for Managing Disciplinary and Grievance Matters
- Bellman v Northampton Recruitment Ltd 
The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.